The Troubles - Who’s Who

Organizations and Movements in Northern Ireland from 1900 to today.


B Specials

The Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) was a reserve force of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

In the 1920s, the Royal Irish Constabulary began recruiting British paramilitary auxiliaries, the Black and Tans and Auxiliary Division. However, these only operated in the south and west of Ireland. In the northeast, the RIC was reinforced from 1 November 1920 by the Ulster Special Constabulary, largely recruited from the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). It was divided into three sections, all of which were armed:

For more on Ulster Special Constabulary -

To get the Orange spin on this controversial force -

 Cumann na mBan



Democratic Unionist Party -


Genealogy of the IRA -


 Fianna Eireann -

Fianna Eireann is an Irish republican youth movement, along the lines of the boy scouts. It was founded in 1909 by Countess Markievicz, with Bulmer Hobson, with the goal of encouraging the youth of Ireland to embrace their own hertitage, rather than that of England.


Irish National Liberation Army

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) is an Irish republican paramilitary organization which was formed on December 8, 1974. It is the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (a political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), was formed the same day). The founders were Seamus Costello and other activists who had left or been forced out of the Official IRA in the wake of the OIRA's 1972 ceasefire and the increasingly reformist approach of Official Sinn Fein. Costello espoused a mixture of traditional republican militarism and Marxist-oriented politics.

For more on the INLA -


Irish Republican Socialist Movement-

The IRSP and INLA were founded on December 10, 1974. Most original members were drawn from Official Sinn Féin and the Official IRA (the same organizations from which the Provisional Irish Republican Movement had split five years earlier). These members were joined by independent socialists from throughout Ireland to form the new Irish Republican Socialist Movement. James Connolly, Ireland's leading Marxist, who was executed for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916, originally formulated the analysis upon which the movement was founded: that the struggle for national liberation and the fight for socialism in Ireland are inseparable. 


Official IRA -


Official Sinn Féin

Official Sinn Féin (later renamed "Sinn Féin the Workers Party") was a Marxist Irish republican political party which evolved from the split in Sinn Féin and the IRA that took place in 1970. (more)


Orange Order

The Orange Order is a Protestant legal fraternal organisation largely based in the province of Ulster, Ireland and in western Scotland but which has a worldwide membership. The Orange Order was founded in Loughgall, County Armagh, Ireland in 1795. Its members and supporters see it as a pious organisation, celebrating Protestant culture and identity. Its critics accuse it of sectarianism and anti-Catholicism.

In Northern Ireland politics it was formally associated with the Ulster Unionist Party until March 12, 2005. Many of its members also belong to the Democratic Unionist Party and some (surreptitiously) to various loyalist paramilitary groups. It is opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed and supported by members of the Ulster Unionist Party. Recently the Orange Order has been blamed for riots that broke out between Loyalists and the PSNI[1].

For more on the Orange Order -

OrangeNet! "the hub of orangeism on the net". -



For Biographical info on Ian Paisley -


See also

Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, 1600-1998
The Mote and the Beam
by John D. Brewer with Gareth I. Higgins (1998) ISBN 0 333 74635 X (Paperback) 248pp


Provisional IRA

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA; more commonly referred to as the IRA, the Provos, or by some of its supporters as the army or the Ra) is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation. Since its emergence in 1969, its stated aim has been the reunification of Ireland which it believed could not be achieved without a violent campaign directed against British rule in Northern Ireland. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign, stating that it would work to achieve its aims using "purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means" and that "[IRA] Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever".

Like all other organisations calling themselves the IRA (see List of IRAs), the Provisionals refer to themselves in public announcements and internal discussions as Óglaigh na hÉireann (literally "Volunteers of Ireland"), the official Irish language title of the Irish Defence Forces (the Irish army).

For more info on the Provisional IRA -


Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. It was founded on 1 June 1922 out of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). At its peak the force had around 8500 officers with a further 4500 reservists, in the controversial Ulster Special Constabulary.

For more on the RUC -


Saor Uladh

Saor Uladh was a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, formed in Co Tyrone by Liam Kelly in 1953. Kelly had been dismissed from the Irish Republican Army in 1951, for planning an operation without Army Council consent. Kelly was later elected to the Seanad in 1954, due mainly to the efforts of Seán MacBride.

Saor Uladh was involved in 1955 in an attack on the RUC barracks in Roslea, Co Fermanagh, and in May 1957 in blowing up the canal lock in Newry.

Fianna Uladh was the political wing of Saor Uladh it was banned in 1956.


Shankill Butchers

A group of 11 Loyalists known as the 'Shankill butchers' were sentenced (Tuesday 20 February 1979) to life imprisonment for 112 offences including 19 murders. The 11 men were given 42 life sentences and received 2,000 years imprisonment, in total, in the form of concurrent sentences. [The Shankill Butchers had begun killing Catholics in July 1972 and were not arrested until May 1977. The Loyalist gang operated out of a number of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) drinking dens in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. The gang was initially led by Lenny Murphy but it continued to operate following his imprisonment in 1976. The Shankill Butchers got their name because not only did they kill Catholics but they first abducted many of their victims, tortured them, mutilated them with butcher knives and axes, and then finally killed them.]

(more) on the Shankill Butchers – also


Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)

The Ulster Defense Association (UDA), the largest loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, was formed in 1971 as an umbrella organization for loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). Today, the UFF constitutes almost the entire UDA membership. The UDA/UFF declared a series of cease-fires between 1994 and 1998. In September 2001, the UDA/UFF’s Inner Council withdrew its support for Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement. The following month, after a series of murders, bombings, and street violence, the British Government ruled the UDA/UFF’s cease-fire defunct. The dissolution of the organization’s political wing, the Ulster Democratic Party, soon followed. In January 2002, however, the UDA created the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) to serve in a similar capacity.

For more on the UDA -


Ulster Unionist Party

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP, sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or OUP or simply the Unionist Party ) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland, and was the party of government in Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972. Until 2003 it was the largest party, but it has been overtaken by the Democratic Unionist Party.

For more info on the UUP -


Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Red Hand Commandos

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a Loyalist paramilitary group formed in 1966, takes its name from the UVF of the first World War. The Ulster Volunteer Force was mobilised as a Protestant/Unionist militia in 1912 to oppose the Home Rule campaign for a separate Irish parliament. Many UVF members formed the 36th (Ulster) Division that fought with the British Army in the Great War. The Progressive Unionist Party is the political wing of the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando. Although the PUP is referred to as a loyalist fringe party, it holds more moderate unionist views than any of the traditional unionist parties.

For more info on the UVF -



From Cain Web Service 'The Troubles' - Suggested Reading’

God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism by Martin Dillon

'Faith and fatherland are indivisible ingredients of the conflict and have produced barbarity.'

God and the Gun asks Roman Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries how they can reconcile murder with their Christian convictions, and what the men of God - the clerics themselves - should or could do to stop the killing. Martin Dillon is the first to talk directly to the churchmen and the terrorists about how religious conditioning and history have led inexorably to political violence. From Billy Wright - loyalist hardman - to Eileen, a leading member of the women's branch of the IRA, to Father Pat Buckly - prepared to break the confessional seal to save a Unionist MP from assassination, the testimony of those on the frontline of guerrilla warfare is both astonishing and terrifying. Orion (1998) ISBN 0752816314